When you embrace cringe, you create courage.

On the opposite side of hiding is hope.

Bella Martin

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“Learn to live alongside cringe. No matter how hard you try to avoid being cringe you will look back on your life and cringe retrospectively.” — Taylor Swift

Many of us spend our whole lives hiding and often without even knowing what from. We hide from what we want because we are afraid we won’t get it. We hide from who we are because sometimes we feel like we aren’t enough and others we feel like we’re too much.

We hide from mistakes because we don’t want to suffer any consequences and in doing so we end up making the worst mistake of all — abandoning ourselves to earn the acceptance of others, stripping our free will out of the fear of failure, and trading lives of expansive courage for ones of stifling comfort.

Living courageously means living authentically. It’s showing up exactly as you are without cutting out the parts you think are unsavory, without building walls around your shame and hoping no one notices. It’s recognizing that not everyone will like what you like — not everyone will like you — but that becomes okay the minute you accept yourself.

Authenticity comes at a cost and that cost is cringe, or the acute embarrassment we can experience when we look back at who we once were and it no longer resonates with who we are now. When you try to express yourself you must accept you will sometimes do it poorly.

When you speak your honest opinions you must expect not everyone will agree with them. You must know that one day you may no longer agree with a former version of yourself, but that doesn’t mean you have failed.

It means you have grown.

You can only grow once you understand the process isn’t always pretty. Sometimes it’s painful. Often it’s confusing and it’s usually uncomfortable, but when you realize the only constant in life is change, you might agree it’s better to look back on your life and wish you did a few things differently than to look back on your life and wish you did something — anything — at all.

Would you rather spend a lifetime holding yourself back because you were worried you wouldn’t succeed or pursue a series of small successes that inevitably…

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Bella Martin

words of healing, hope & happiness. | instagram: @bellamwrites